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Brentford suffered an acute sense of de ja vu at the Riverside on Tuesday night as Boro notched their fifth win against the Bees inside a year – however, of the three recent trips to Teeside, this defeat was the least one-sided encounter.

Myseriously, Marinus named two keepers in a six-man sub’s bench, which highlights the extensive injury list at the club currently… this was not the ideal situation for arguably The Bees’ toughest trip of the campaign.

Middlesbrough are undoubtedly the title favourites and it was vital that we learned our lessons from last year – so it was a relief that the side that took to the field carried on where they left off at Leeds last weekend, and put in another positive, high-tempo performance.

Although Brentford ultimately came up short again, we were far from plucky underdogs – some of the flowing football, as well as the commitment and desire shown by the players, has come on leaps and bounds since the international break – which bodes well for the sequence of three home games that follow. Games in which we must expect the Reds to return to winning ways.

Defensive lapses, and not taking the guilt-edged chances that came our way, proved the visitors’ undoing, but if we are using this fixture as a barometer of where were are at compared to a year ago, the overwhelming feeling expressed in the Pride of West London post match Podcast (link above) and the Beesotted Video, points to an improvement, but you can understand there is concern by the lack of points currently on the board. A couple of wins will give a totally different complexion on things, but it has to be noted that we really pushed Boro hard from start to finish and we looked a very good side.

But the fact is that Stuani’s opener should have dealt with better despite the clinical finish, and Marinus will cringe at the way we were exposed down the right hand side for the second (Stuani) and third (Adomah) goals. We did not look weaker without Tarki though, and Barbet, Colin and Dean may be tried again for the Preston match I would imagine.

A goal down at the break The Bees came out of the trap brightly for the second half and it didn’t take long to see the 150 away fans celebrating an equaliser – Lasse Vibe capitalising on a keeper fluff to slam the ball home – but any hopes of holding out for a point, or grabbing a win, were snubbed out in the 70th minute and the travelling fans were left ruing a wayward Djuracin volley (which should have equalised again) seven minutes later when Boro wrapped up the victory.

All in all, there are distinct signs of improvement, but none of us can can dispute that we need a morale boosting win on Saturday and the pressure is mounting for a three point haul on home soil.

Dave Lane